Environmental challenges early in development can result in complex phenotypic trade-offs and long-term effects on individual physiology, performance and behavior, with implications for disease and predation risk. We examined the effects of simulated pond drying and elevated water temperatures on development, growth, thermal physiology and behavior in a North American amphibian, Rana sphenocephala. Tadpoles were raised in outdoor mesocosms under warming and drying regimes based on projected climatic conditions in 2070. We predicted that amphibians experiencing the rapid pond drying and elevated pond temperatures associated with climate change would accelerate development, be smaller at metamorphosis and demonstrate long-term differences in physiology and exploratory behavior post-metamorphosis. Although both drying and warming accelerated development and reduced survival to metamorphosis, only drying resulted in smaller animals at metamorphosis. Around 1 month post-metamorphosis, animals from the control treatment jumped relatively farther at high temperatures in jumping trials. In addition, across all treatments, frogs with shorter larval periods had lower critical thermal minima and maxima. We also found that developing under warming and drying resulted in a less exploratory behavioral phenotype, and that drying resulted in higher selected temperatures in a thermal gradient. Furthermore, behavior predicted thermal preference, with less exploratory animals selecting higher temperatures. Our results underscore the multi-faceted effects of early developmental environments on behavioral and physiological phenotypes later in life. Thermal preference can influence disease risk through behavioral thermoregulation, and exploratory behavior may increase risk of predation or pathogen encounter. Thus, climatic stressors during development may mediate amphibian exposure and susceptibility to predators and pathogens into later life stages.

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